Picture this - You have a fantastic photo of a colleague celebrating a work achievement with a cake at their desk and balloons. This is the perfect picture for Instagram to show off your company culture and amazing staff, but wait, behind them in the background, their screen is turned on and a calendar is visible with a list of client meetings, times and locations. You don’t notice and post the photo. Shortly after a competitor swoops in to try and take your clients or worse, a phishing company contacts your clients impersonating your business & colleagues. Either way, a data breech has occurred.
This situation could have easily been avoided by simply, locking the computer, switching off the monitor screens and removing any data from the surrounding area before taking photos however, in the height of the moment this can be an easily forgotten but incredibly process.
Therefore, when creating content for any social media platform, whether for a personal or company account, always keep in the forefront of your mind;
- Are you sharing any personal or private information?
- Are you authorised to be sharing this information with the public?
- Could this information be used to harm you, your business or your clients?
In reality, this is a more complicated matter as by simply using Social Media in the first place, you are sharing information to the world. For instance, by posting information about a company event and tagging the speakers, you have already declared who will be present, when and where.
So how do you ensure you are effectively marketing to your audience and keeping your content secure?
Secure your accounts
Start with some general housekeeping by ensuring each account has a unique password – we recommend using a passphrase to make it rememberable as well as updating each password at least once a year and when someone with shared access, has left the business or moved department.
For your company accounts, limit access to a small team – does Julia in accounting really need access to the company Facebook? Its great to encourage staff to use social media and interact with company content but they should be using their personal accounts. Use a central request system for staff to submit information which could be announced on a company social media platform.
If your team is using a social media management system such as Hootsuite or HubSpot, make sure each user has their own account and password. This will create accountability and help to easily track who is posting to each account and the performance of each post.
Follow your firm’s social media policy
A social media policy creates a clear set of guidelines for staff and marketing teams to use when posting company related material on social media. A social media policy is unique to each business and can include things such as;
- Uphold the firm’s values and mission.
- No swearing or derogatory language.
- Do not slander the business, colleagues, clients, contacts or competitors.
- Under no circumstances mention a client’s personal information.
- Ensure the data protection policy is followed.
It can also be used to protect the reputation of your firm for instance, by excluding any imagery of alcohol consumption by staff on social media. When creating a social media policy, remember to think about the logistics of the policy i.e. would this apply to staff personal accounts or just the company page, and is it fair or realistic for these rules to be followed on personal accounts? It is completely up to each firm what the boundaries are, but they should be well known by all staff and effectively enforced.
Poof check before posting
Social media is a faced paced environment and it can be easy to get caught up in replying to an opinion you don’t quite agree with online. However, it is always advised to proof check everything before clicking the send button. Firstly, for any grammatical or spelling errors but most importantly to check if you are not posting anything you shouldn’t. Cast your eyes over any imagery before posting to ensure nothing is in the background or forefront that could breech your social media policy. It’s a bit like ‘spot the difference’ but can be completed in less time! Look out for;
- Open notebooks.
- Confidential print outs.
- Information on computer monitors.
- Location information - unless integral to the post such as an event.
- And if anyone tagged or visible in an image, has given their permission to be on social media.
Finally, use your common sense and have fun! Social media can be a fantastic way to network, share information and develop your brand. Just be mindful of what you are posting and if you have permission to do so while keeping any accounts secured.
Speak to Sprout IT about securing your online data. To get in contact with our team, please call 020 7036 8530 or email us.